How to Make Ethical Choices for Your Family in 2020

Alison Lee

Turn on your television, and you will see our oceans and its inhabitants under man-made threat (over-consumption and corporate greed); fires blazing and destroying acres of forests, smog in major cities choking its citizens; hurricanes taking homes and lives, and many people turning to veganism after watching Netflix’s The Game Changers.

Change is clearly needed, and it needs to start with all of us. If one person makes one change at a time, no matter how small, they can make a difference. With the new year approaching, there are a few ways you can do your part towards ethical living. 

Go Meatless

If you’re already doing Meatless Mondays, good for you! Now, try to take that a little further and start cutting down on meat consumption on a daily basis. There is a misconception that vegetarians and vegans only eat salads. Sure, they do but they also cook up a storm using beans, legumes, grains, vegetables, and fruit. Fresh, plant-based food is not only healthy for you, but also delicious. One of my favorites is this hearty One Pot Creamy Hummus Pasta and I also love this collection of Vegetarian Instant Pot recipes.

Make Your Own Gifts or Shop Ethically

Do not shop online or make a beeline to the nearest store for gifts this coming year. Toys are generally in plastic packaging, generating more waste that our environment does not need. Make your own! If you are crafty or up for a new experience, try making your own candles and soaps, bake cookies, sew pretty tea towels, make jewelry, or if you have time, knit your special someone a warm sweater! If you are craft-challenged, consider shopping ethically. Head to Ocean Junkies for ocean-friendly products for yourself, home, and kids; The Little Market for homewares like baskets and candles; Thrive Market for wine, coffee, natural bath, and cleaning products; Hope Made in the World for gorgeous artisan-woven bags, and Green Toys are made from 100% recycled materials. 

Donate to Climate Change Causes or an Animal Shelter

Here’s a radical idea: instead of gifting an object, consider donating to a climate change cause on behalf of your family member or friend. However, before you do so, do your research. Ensure that you check out how the charity disburses its donations.  Go to Charity Navigator to look for reputable organizations where they evaluate charities and rate them. 

Adopt, Don’t Buy

If you want to surprise your children with their first dog or cat, why not head to the nearest pet shelter instead of a pet store? Look for no-kill shelters such as Best Friends Animal Society or do a quick search for your nearest shelter. 

Use Ethical Technology

Making conscious changes to be more ethical means doing research on the Internet. If you’re looking for a Google alternative, why not try an ethical search engine such as Ekoru? Ekoru donates part of their revenue from ad clicks to organizations such as Big Blue Ocean Cleanup. Their servers are housed in eco-friendly data centres to ensure that user searches have a minimal impact on the environment. There is a comprehensive list of ethical technological solutions at

Waste not, want not. You can make the new year (and every year after!) an ethical one. Make a difference today!

About the Author: Alison Lee is a mother of four, writer, and editor. Her writing is featured extensively on various websites such as The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, BonBon Break, Mamalode, Feminine Collective, and many more. Alison is the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated which has published two books on twins and triplets and her essays have been published in two anthologies. A vegan, Alison loves spending time in nature on long hikes.